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Neuropsychology. 2014 May;28(3):394-405. doi: 10.1037/neu0000025. Epub 2013 Dec 23.

Cognitive functioning in people with chronic fatigue syndrome: a comparison between subjective and objective measures.

Author information

1
School of Psychology, The University of Adelaide.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between subjective and objective assessments of memory and attention in people with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), using tests that have previously detected deficits in CFS samples and measures of potential confounds.

METHOD:

Fifty people with CFS and 50 healthy controls were compared on subjective (memory and attention symptom severity, Cognitive Failures Questionnaire, Everyday Attention Questionnaires) and objective (California Verbal Learning Test, Rey-Osterreith Complex Figure Test, Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test, Stroop task) measures of memory and attention. Fatigue, sleep, depression, and anxiety were also assessed.

RESULTS:

The CFS group reported experiencing more cognitive problems than the controls, but the two groups did not differ on the cognitive tests. Scores on the subjective and objective measures were not correlated in either group. Depression was positively correlated with increased severity of cognitive problems in both the CFS and control groups.

CONCLUSIONS:

There is little evidence for a relationship between subjective and objective measures of cognitive functioning for both people with CFS and healthy controls, which suggests that they may be capturing different constructs. Problems with memory and attention in everyday life are a significant part of CFS. Depression appears to be related to subjective problems but does not fully explain them.

PMID:
24364389
DOI:
10.1037/neu0000025
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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